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Kenya tops charts in organised crime, alarming trends unveiled in 2023 ENACT Crime Index

The 2023 ENACT Organised Crime Index, a comprehensive tool assessing organised crime levels and resilience in African countries, was launched in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Index, a collaborative effort by the Institute of Security Studies, Interpol, and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, highlights Kenya as a significant hub of criminal activity on the continent.

According to the latest findings, Kenya demonstrates alarmingly high levels of organised crime, with an average criminality score of 7.02 out of 10, significantly exceeding the continental average of 5.25.

This places Kenya fourth in Africa and 16th globally in terms of criminality.

Conversely, its resilience against organised crime is only moderately effective, scoring an average of 5.33, which is above the continental average of 3.25 but still indicative of significant vulnerabilities.

The full index is due to be released on Friday.

The Index, now in its third iteration since its inception in 2019, paints a disturbing picture of organised crime in Africa. It ranks all 54 African countries based on criminality and resilience, employing a one to 10 scale for both metrics.

The comprehensive study reveals that organised crime continues to be a major challenge across the continent, hampering international cooperation and development.

Kenya’s position is particularly concerning due to its role as a source, transit, and destination country for various forms of human trafficking, including forced labour and sexual exploitation.

The country’s strategic location links major trafficking corridors from the Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, and East Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia. The report cites collusion between traffickers and Kenyan law enforcement officials, exacerbating the situation.

The Index assesses various criminal markets in Kenya, all scoring above average.

These include human trafficking (eight), human smuggling (7.5), extortion (seven), arms trafficking (7.5), counterfeit goods trade (seven), heroin trade (7.5), cocaine trade (six), cannabis trade (6.5), synthetic drug trade (5.5), cyber-dependent crimes (eight), and financial crimes (7.5).

These illicit markets not only bring substantial profits but are also increasingly pervasive, negatively impacting nearly all aspects of Kenyan society.

However, the report also highlights areas for improvement in Kenya’s regulatory and institutional framework.

It points out that corruption, bribery, and criminal influence deeply embedded in public life undermine the government’s efforts to combat organised crime.

The involvement of known criminals in politics and the sponsorship of opposition parties by individuals linked to drug trafficking are major concerns.

The ENACT Index serves as an analytical tool and a resource for policymakers and civil society, aiming to drive meaningful, sustainable change.

It highlights the critical role of state involvement in perpetuating organised crime, particularly in authoritarian states, and notes the diminishing space for civil society and human rights defenders combating organised crime and corruption.

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